2016 marked the 2nd year that West Cleveland Baptist Church has partnered with Pillar Church of Woodlawn in Alexandria, VA. When we visit Pillar, we try to write them a blank check as far as what we are willing to do. Whatever and wherever you need us, that is what we want to do. I can’t speak first-hand about everyone’s experience, but I can share a few tidbits of mine. If you’d like to hear other perspectives, make sure to visit SERMONS ONLINE! and listen to the message from July 10.
First of all, I enjoy going to Pillar because I have a brother there. The lead pastor is Brian Collison. We don’t share a last name and we don’t look alike, but we are both covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, we both wear an Army uniform proudly, and we are both alumni from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. It is a breath of fresh air to see and fellowship with a like-minded friend in the ministry. Praying for one another, venting to one another, and just hanging out is great for me. The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 27:17 that “iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” It sharpens me to be there. You should also find brothers and sisters that can sharpen you – no matter where you are.
Secondly, I love attending Sunday morning service at Pillar. In the two years we have been there, we have taken part in 2 Sunday morning services. And yet, I have never heard a sermon there! How in the world does that happen? Both years, one of my favorite parts of the week has been taking my leave from the service in order to go back to a room dedicated to prayer. During the preaching of the word, a very small group of people go to do battle in prayer. I looked at my phone as we began this year and noted the time. We spent 65 minutes in prayer! You might think that is excessive or unnecessary, but prayer changes things. While the word is going forth from the pulpit, we were praying for the preacher and the hearers. After all, the Bible teaches that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). We should pray for our preachers to communicate the word of God effectively and for the hearers to be focused and attentive to what is being said.
Lastly, we did something a little different this year. We took one day to assist Waterfront Church of D.C. The day was miserably HOT! It was in the upper-90s with a high level of humidity. We were not indoors in an air-conditioned building, we were outdoors walking around attaching door-hangers to the front doors of several neighborhoods. During that time, we had one member get stung by an unidentified insect, one member have sinus issues, and one member get a severe headache. The rest of the team was hot and a bit cranky. I fully expected to hear mumbles and grumbles from the team – but they weren’t really there. Most of our members had a major sense of accomplishment, and they were proud to have been sweating for the Lord. I was blessed to hear their positive attitudes in the midst of bad circumstances. Our trust in the Lord is never supposed to depend on circumstances. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your path” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Many in the team even mentioned this rough day as one of their most memorable!
I could go on and on telling you about every detail of the trip – but the old adage is still true – Missions is caught more than taught. I can tell you what it means to be on mission, but until you catch the fever, you will be hard-pressed to truly understand. I want to encourage each and every one of you to watch our mission video, listen to our testimonies, read this short blog, and even pepper us with whatever questions you may have… but at the end of the day, I hope that you are encouraged to step out in faith and step forward for Christ to serve on the mission field. There are several opportunities to take that first step in our own community very soon. Plug in and catch the mission fever!